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Slow justice for Richelle

The wheels of justice grind slowly in the case of a young housemaid whose body and severed head were found 37 kilometers apart last month.

Richelle Sagang, a 17-year-old house help in upscale Ayala Alabang Village, was murdered on Jan. 12 and police have yet to establish the motive, much less identify possible suspects.

The victim’s body lies at Sacred Heart Chapel of the Veronica Funeral Parlor in Pasay. Since the severed head could no longer be re-attached – the neck has yet to be recovered – the casket was covered.

Save for her father Noel who came all the way from Zamboanga del Norte, no one has visited her wake since Feb. 2.

“Wala pa bumisita simula nang dalhin ng pamilya at mga pulis dito. Kaya nila-lock namin ang chapel kasi wala ring bantay,” said a funeral parlor employee who asked not to be named.

Placed beside her casket was a picture of a smiling Richelle. Hanging on the wall behind the casket was a wooden statue of a crucified Jesus Christ. There were six empty wooden benches, a water gallon, a cross placed on top of a table, and few flowers in the empty chapel.

The employee said the victim’s father, a farmer back home, was working on some important papers since the body will be transported in her hometown in Patawag Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte.

Funeral expenses of the victim had been taken care of, but employees won’t divulge additional information.

Employees of the funeral parlor can’t help but sympathize with the victim’s family.

“Ay syempre naaawa kami sa kanya eh. Sana maparusahan silang gumawa,” the employee said. “Siguro malungkot ang kaluluwa niya ngayon. Di ba ang sabi kapag namatay ka, gumagala pa ang kaluluwa mo? Siguro malungkot siya ngayon dahil walang dumadalaw sa kanya.”

Senior Supt. Joel Orduña, head of Special Investigation Task Group “Sagang”, said they are looking for two missing co-workers who were last seen with the victim.

Orduña identified them as Chrissa Mae Anial Chai, alias “Samantha”, and Niron Leon Marcos, alias “Aaron.” They are considered as “persons of interest.”

They accompanied Sagang when their employer filed a complaint against the victim for alleged theft in the security office of the Ayala Alabang Village on Jan. 12.

On the same day, Sagang’s headless body was found in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. Two days later, her severed head was recovered on a creek in Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City. It took several days before the body and the severed head were matched through DNA testing.

Police have yet to identify the victim’s employer, reportedly belonging to a rich family.

Meanwhile, Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi on Tuesday offered P100,000 to anyone who can give information for the identification and immediate arrest of those responsible for Sagang’s death.

This developed at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) joined in probing Sagang’s death.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has already directed the NBI to conduct its own investigation into the killing of the househelper.

“I asked the NBI to conduct a parallel investigation on the beheading of a house help in Ayala, Alabang,” said the Secretary. (with a report from Jeffrey Damicog) (MARTIN SADONGDONG)